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Does my employer HAVE to visit me at home while I'm off sick?

(40 Posts)
PavlovtheCat Wed 26-Jun-13 10:58:21

I had surgery last week, planned - well, one day's notice but I knew it was happening, as did my employers.

I have been given a Fit Note signing me off as unfit for 4wks, this might, or might not be extended depending on how I recover. Again this was expected and my employers were already aware I would be off for around this amount of time.

I had an email saying glad it all went well, from HR manager, who I copied in to update email sent to boss. She has said that she and my boss will need to do a home visit at some point during my time off.

Is this compulsory? My reasons for it are: the house is a mess, as I have had spinal surgery, DH is working like a dog to keep on top of it, care for the children, and me, while also working. Something has to give. I am aware that they are not coming here for that reason etc etc, and I shouldn't care, but I do. People DO judge, whether they should or not. I also like to keep my work and my home life private. I have had enough intrusions in my home life from work as it is over the years due to work grievances a long time ago, death of my mother, maternity leave and issues with me 'breastfeeding too long' (no kidding). I have kept them in the loop about my spinal condition, but they have wanted so much information from me, they know the ins and outs better than some of close friends! I feel exposed with them coming into my home. It feels like an intrusion that is unnecessary in the days of email and telephones.

I do get that there is an element of needing to look at how to manage my return to work, but that can be done at work? And, I tried to talk to them about this before I had surgery, as it was always going to result in a phased return with certain things in place to support my recovery while having me at work soonest. Those things are not unpredictable, they could have been anticipated, and OH involved before I went on leave, but they chose not to do anything at the time.

Anyway, ranting. I now feel anxious about them coming to visit and worrying about how we will clean the house. It's going to pray on my mind.

I just don't see what can be gained by having them come to my house - i can understand it if it was an unplanned absence where there needs to be things looked at about impact on work etc, but, it seems to be due to policy rather than any real reason given.

So can I say that I would prefer they didn't do a home visit and just let me get on with my recovery, but that an OH referral would be welcome to prepare for my return?

PavlovtheCat Thu 27-Jun-13 15:39:29

supportive hair strokery type of thing love that image! Alas, I know the HR Manager well enough to know she is not a fluffy caring sharing woman! I get on well with her actually, she is honest with me most of the time, but no, she does not do virtual hair stroking grin

BackforGood Wed 26-Jun-13 22:31:06

Am loving the term a supportive hair strokery kind of HR thing grin

but actually, that's what mine was, and, IM limited E, what they ever are, Presuming that is, the 'off sick' person isn't taking the mick.

MissBeehiving Wed 26-Jun-13 19:40:13

My employer does home visits for people that are away LTS - and as a manager I've done them. It's meant to be a supportive hair strokery kind of HR thing tbh. In wouldn't be too worried.

flowery Wed 26-Jun-13 16:11:57

It's not a case of being awkward, but if you feel it's too soon, would prefer to delay it a bit, or to touch base in a couple of weeks with a view to setting a date then, you need to actually say that.

From what you've said it doesn't sound like the HR manager has done anything other than be efficient and accommodating.

Believe me, there are plenty of people who would not react well to HR coming back with vague comments about talking soon about a return to work and would then complain that enough effort wasn't being made to stay in touch/support them.

Crinkle77 Wed 26-Jun-13 15:59:10

I work for a large organisation and if you are on long term sick they will keep in contact every couple of weeks or so via phone or e-mail and after 6 weeks they will a arrange an absence review meeting between you, your line manager and HR. It does not say whether this has to be done at home although I am sure if you suggested an alternative venue that would be fine. I don't really understand your reasoning when you say they already know too much about your private life so that's why you don't want them in your home. If they did come to your home they are hardly going to start inspecting it. Just get one room tidy and close the doors to the rest of the house.

PavlovtheCat Wed 26-Jun-13 15:32:51

Although, there are some lovely coffee shops around my place of employment, and the weather has just turned out lovely. It wouldn't be terrible to chat in the sunshine about work stuff, instead of in a stuffy office. As long as they pay.

PavlovtheCat Wed 26-Jun-13 15:30:08

I don't actually want to meet at all. They have all the information they require to make plans around my return, including the OH referral that is needed. I just want to recover, then go back to work as guided by my GP and OH. I can't see what else they need to discuss that has to be in person, but, I also don't want to be seen as awkward, when there is no real reason for not wanting to meet, other than, it's not necessary. So I will meet to stop them thinking I am being deliberately unreasonable.

PavlovtheCat Wed 26-Jun-13 15:26:52

I guess I was just surprised at the speed of the response, they have it all wrapped up already with dates etc, and it makes me wonder why. Like I said, I am a bit cynical when it comes to work related things.

I shall just tell her I will confirm nearer the time or something and then nearer the time I will ask for info about meeting purpose etc so I can know what to expect.

flowery Wed 26-Jun-13 15:22:01

SO you emailed saying you would prefer to meet in a coffee shop and she replied saying that was fine, and proposing a date.

I can't see a problem with that tbh. If you'd replied saying I'd rather not arrange a meeting just yet, then a reply along the lines of the one you said you'd prefer might have been appropriate. But all you said was about a different venue...

PavlovtheCat Wed 26-Jun-13 15:19:12

I'm not going to reply today. I'm just going to forget about it for a couple of days. I will probably go, there is no real reason why I shouldn't go, other than I don't see the purpose and it feels like there is an agenda that I'm not aware of. Obviously there when the line manager can't even be bothered to reply himself.

Solo Wed 26-Jun-13 14:56:39

smile You're welcome Pav

I know just where you are coming from with all of this!

mirry2 Wed 26-Jun-13 14:48:55

In the past my ex boss said he wanted to home visit me (I had been in hospital for a pregnancy related scare) and I really didnt want him to see my home, just because it's part of my privat life. However he didn't come because I told him it would be very dfficult to get here without a car (which he didn't have).

PavlovtheCat Wed 26-Jun-13 14:45:26

solo meant to say, thanks for good wishes. I am doing pretty good actually, keep forgetting not to do too much!

PavlovtheCat Wed 26-Jun-13 14:42:56

I wouldn't have minded them just bloody leaving me alone for a week or two to recover and rest etc before thinking about where to meet, why we are meeting etc. FFS. Could she just not have said 'glad you are doing ok talk soon about return to work' or similar then contacted me next week or something.

I feel a little tense and anxious, like something is wrong.

PavlovtheCat Wed 26-Jun-13 14:40:31

I sent an email to HR manager and my line manager, saying along the lines of 'thanks for asking after my health, i would prefer to meet in a coffee shop or somewhere near work, I will send me fit note into <managers name>'

I got this response from my HR manager:

'Glad you are getting lots of TLC. Of course you can have your 'home visit' in a coffee shop, where would suit you best? <managers name> and I were thinking of 00:00 on dd/mm/yy? would that be ok?' (two weeks time approx).

It's a bit odd. I have not yet had any email contact from my actual line manager at all, not 'get well soon' or any acknowledgement of the email sent re outcome of surgery, it's all being done via HR manager. But they have clearly spoken, as they have come up with a suitable date for them both.

PavlovtheCat Wed 26-Jun-13 12:15:40

lady and I'm not sure coming to my house would prove either way if I am fit to work anyway. If you saw me now (well, not right now, I am in bed on the laptop wink) but if I were up and dressed, it would be easy to think I was fine to work, as I look well, I am walking, and reasonably mobile with my steps. So, all they would see is me perched on a chair looking well. And I really do, especially compared to how I looked prior to surgery - in constant pain which contorted my general facial features, on high levels of pain meds, walking with a stick, fed up at the constance of it all. Now, I look in much less pain, not walking with a stick, on slightly less pain meds, feel happy as I now potentially have my life back. That doesn't mean I am fit to work now. I can't twist, bend, lift, bear weight of any kind other than a drink, can't drive, sit for long periods, stand for long periods, and can't function without meds.

They would be able to see all that when I walk without limping and screwing my face up in pain toward them in a coffee shop, still won't make me fit for work.

PavlovtheCat Wed 26-Jun-13 12:10:29

lady I can't imagine so. They have seen me at work when I probably shouldn't have been. I have worked very closely with the HR manager and my previous boss (changed recently to due staff promotion) over the months in relation to absences levels, putting in place changes to help me be at work (new chair, files moved to waist height) and they know how hard I have tried to be at work normally. I have not done that before, there is absolutely no reason for her to think this would change now and I only had the surgery last week so not like they would think I'm doing that now.

I have had two 'formal meetings' re absences due to meeting extended trigger points (extended due to disability) and on both of those occasions, no further action as they are happy that I am doing all I can to be at work. My HR Manager has even asked for it to be minuted that she has been impressed with how I have conducted myself over the last few months. She and I have known each other in HR matters for many years, and she has a pretty good judge of me, which is not someone who takes the piss, and not someone who likes others (managers) to do so either.

PavlovtheCat Wed 26-Jun-13 12:02:00

backforgood oh it would be nice if I felt they were coming in order to bring me some nice bits and bobs, flowers or such like from my colleagues, but no, I don't think so. My colleagues are thoroughly pissed at my sporadic attendance over the last months and they have made that rather clear, I expect, as this has been a long time coming (in that I have waited 18wks to see neuro to discuss surgery, followed by 3wks before actual surgery) they just want it over with and for me to start pulling my weight and not being a burden.

I guess it depends on the reason why they are coming - if it were a colleague coming with my manager, and I felt missed and that they gave a toss other than in terms of how my absence is affecting workloads (because they piled me high with cases to 100% capacity just before I had surgery so have to put that work elsewhere) I would happily have them come and visit, to discuss return to work. But, that's not the case. I have experienced HR enough to be cynical about their intentions.

And, I know they won't be rooting through my things to check for tidiness, but with two young children, it's going to be thoroughly grubby, unless DH spends a day tidying before they come, and I don't want him to have to do that on top of everything else for my employers to visit.

LadyInDisguise Wed 26-Jun-13 11:55:30

Are they worried that you will stay off sick even though you could actually work?
I can't see any other reason for coming to your house otherwise.

Rockchick1984 Wed 26-Jun-13 11:48:50

Just wanted to say, when I was off in my previous job my manager wanted to come out and have a meeting at my house. I refused and said I'd prefer to meet somewhere neutral, she tried to tell me it was policy so I rang her line manager who assured me it could be done elsewhere smile

Solo Wed 26-Jun-13 11:48:34

For some people (me included), it feels very intrusive.

BackforGood Wed 26-Jun-13 11:42:38

When I was off with cancer last year, I was delighted that my manager made the journey across the city to visit me to plan my return to work. She brought me a lovely plant and some bits and bobs from colleagues, and - oddly enough - she didn't go routing around the house checking it for cleanliness, nor running her finger through the dust on the top of the TV, she came to see how I was doing and what they could do to make my return to work easier. It was a relaxed, pleasant conversation and a couple of forms that needed to be signed.
I presumed that she offered to come to me, to make sure that I didn't have to drive all the way over to work, as a kindness and consideration to me, and to make sure I wasn't feeling pressured to be 'out and about' before I was ready.
However, as others have said, I'm sure you could arrange to meet somewhere outside the home.

flowery Wed 26-Jun-13 11:40:42

I think the key is to ensure you are remaining cooperative. If you proactively offer to speak to them, attend work, meet them elsewhere, they will have very little to complain about. It's when people not only refuse a home visit but also refuse any contact at all that there is reason for concern, and things like enhanced sick pay might be jeopardised.

mistlethrush Wed 26-Jun-13 11:39:34

"Dear Emplyers, I very much appreciate you wanting to come and see me when I am laid up at home. However, I know how busy you are, and I don't want to use up any more of your time than necessary.

I'm going to have to come in to see about various things like whether I can get through the doors on my own so that we can plan a phased return to work plan that is suitable and sensible, so I would suggest that it would be much easier for you if I do this at the same time as seeing you in the office.

At the moment, I suggest that one of the last two days covered by my FIT note would probably be the best, but I will let you know if my GP thinks that I should take any more time before coming back as soon as possible and rearrange the date at that stage'....

Solo Wed 26-Jun-13 11:38:24

I am currently off sick with a registered health issue and I got a letter dated the very day that I went sick saying that they have no phone number for me (they do) and that they would need one in order to keep a check on me and arrange a home visit in order to speed my return to work up!
They will not be making a home visit to me; not on your life! In years gone by, I've had 7 months off sick with the same illness and same employer and they never made a home visit.

I don't believe they can insist legally.
I hope you are not in too much pain and discomfort Pav.

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